It is here… Finally here. Google Gears is a middleware program with tremendous potential as it allows web based applications to run, even when there is no web connectivity.
Currently, using Google Gears is a bit clunky meaning you have to tell the system you are going offline in order to use applications without a web connection. For example, before your flight takes off you tell Google Reader you are going offline and it will download a few thousand of your latest feeds.
But the real power of Google Gears to me has always been its use on a mobile device as this piece of middleware allows a smartphone to be useful at all times — even when there is no internet access.
Google has thankfully, just released Google Gears for Mobile.
Now I don’t want to be responsible for over-hyping this technology as I am not really blown away with the other applications I have seen taking advantage of Google Gears so far.
For example Zoho allows document synchronization through Google Gears for Mobile but having access to documents remotely is not such a sexy application. Then again, it does fill the void left by ActiveSync so perhaps for many this could be a key application.
What could be more interesting however is Buxfer, a service which allows you to keep track of your accounts, manage budgets and tag financial transactions for better record keeping.
In November of last year I mentioned that Google Gears could give Google a tremendous leg up on the iPhone.
But where the iPhone comes up short is in having a software architecture allowing SaaS applications to run when there is no Internet connectivity. This is where Google Gears comes into play as it allows SaaS applications to run with no web access.
I was assuming that Google Gears would appear as part of Android. Interestingly, it seems Microsoft will be the company which benefits first from Mobile Gears.
There are likely many applications which will benefit from using Google Gears for Mobile but it seems to me that in order for this technology to be of the most use, it needs to be more seamless, meaning it should be ready to work when there is an internet outage, not just when you are planning to leave an area of internet coverage.
Still, Google Gears for Mobile will allow mobile devices unprecedented access to information, regardless of location and in doing so it will likely give rise to a suite of new services which will put more power in the palm of your hand.
Here is a video which is a bit tough to hear but gives you some idea of what Google’s future mobile plans are: